The Metro Board of Directors held their regular monthly meeting on Thursday morning at Metro HQ in downtown Los Angeles. Here is the full agenda that includes links to staff reports on all the items; a link to audio recording of the meeting will appear on that web page later.
Below is a roundup of some of the more interesting items taken up by the Board:
•The Board approved the new NoHo-Pasadena Express bus service between the Orange Line and Red Line stations in North Hollywood and two Gold Line stations in Pasadena, with two stops in Burbank and one in Glendale. This is a pilot program for 180 days to see how it performs. Please see this earlier Source post for more information.
•The Board approved a motion asking Metro to do a feasibility study of whether it’s possible to move the El Monte Metrolink Station about one mile west to the El Monte Station that serves many Metro and Foothill Transit bus lines. The Google Map below shows the location of the two stations. The El Monte Station will also be part of Metro’s pilot program for transit-oriented communities, which is taking a more holistic approach to new development and connections to transit stations.
•The Board approved a $3.83-million contract with RNL Interplan, Inc. to develop advanced conceptual engineering for the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station improvement project. As part of the approval, the Board also okayed a spending plan for the project.
Here is more about the project:
•The Board approved a motion by Board Member James T. Butts instructing Metro to develop a comprehensive plan for spending money from the state’s Cap-and-Trade Program. Several Board Members spoke in support of the motion, including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who wants Metro to explore whether cap-trade funds could be used to help keep Metro’s fares low to encourage more transit ridership.
As part of this item, the Board also gave approval for Metro to claim $28 million in cap-trade funds and to use that money on several eligible projects, including operations funding for the Gold Line Foothill Extension, Expo Line Phase 2, the San Fernando Valley-Westside Express and the Silver Line. More about those projects in this attachment.
•The Board received-and-filed a staff report on the update of Metro’s long-range plan and a potential sales tax ballot measure for 2016 to fund transportation projects. Metro is looking at a ballot measure that would include a new half-cent sales tax increase for 40 years (2017 to 2057) and would also extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax for 18 years beyond its expiration date to 2057. Such a ballot measure could raise $120 billion, according to Metro staff.
Here’s an earlier Source post explaining the long-range update and potential ballot measure.
There were roughly 20 public speakers who provided testimony on this item. Many speakers said that such a ballot measure should not fund a freeway tunnel to fill the gap in the 710 between Alhambra/El Sereno and Pasadena. It’s important to note that the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments did not include funding for a 710 project on their draft wish list for a potential ballot measure. See page 2 of this report.
Metro Board Member and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti added that he does not think that money for the 710 should be or will be in the ballot measure. “We are going to be religiously agnostic on that [project] if that’s not a contradiction in terms,” he said.
•The Board approved expanding a project to build run-through tracks at Union Station’s southern end so that trains will be able to enter the station from both the north and south. That is expected to speed up the time required for trains to stop at Union Station, increase the number of trains that can use the station each day and reduce the number of idling trains in the station to help improve air quality.
As part of the item, the Board approved $15 million to fund further environmental study and preliminary engineering of the project. The project expansion will include a new passenger concourse under the tracks — part of the Union Station Master Plan — and possible high-speed rail tracks within the current set of tracks at Union Station.
•The Board approved a $7-million contract increase with AECOM for further study of two alternatives for the I-710 Corridor Project to improve traffic flow and freight movement on the 710 between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the 60 freeway. One alternative involves the construction of a new freight corridor for trucks, the other alternative would add truck lanes to part of the corridor and other improvements.
As part of the item, the Board also approved a motion by Board Member and Supervisor Hilda Solis to add study of potential additions to both alternatives. Among those additions: new bike lanes, expanded train frequency on the Blue and Green Lines and more transit service along the 710 corridor communities and the use of low-emission construction equipment.
The Board also approved an amendment to the motion by Don Knabe (below, sorry about the poor quality), which is below. Please note that items G, H and I involve construction of a new class I bike paths near the 60 corridor — along the western side of the L.A. River, the Southern California Edison right-of-way and the Rio Hondo. Please see the Solis motion for a more thorough description.
•The Metro Board approved increasing the life-of-project budget by $103 million for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, bringing the total project cost to $1.308 billion. The increase solves issues that went to arbitration between Metro and the contractor who built the project, Kiewit. Metro staff said there is potential for a second round of arbitration with Kiewit but that Metro is trying to work out an agreement outside of litigation.